Leathers the Accountants are on board with Storey Racing for 2018 and bring not just financial backing, but also a deep rooted passion for the sport thanks to their Managing Partner, Michael Leather.

Once a heavily overweight businessman, Michael, following a near-death canoeing incident on a holiday, realised something had to change. And so he entered a local charity cycle challenge on the basis how hard can 51 miles be (Michael acknowledges that he should have sought medical advice, as the risk of a heart attack can’t have been far away), but as he and a number of his clients say, cycling has changed his life. As he reflects on his cycling journey, Michael is increasingly passionate about the health benefits of cycling, not just the physical and cardio benefits but in an environment where work can be extremely high pressured the mental/mental health benefits both for himself and those around him. A two time Tour de Force rider (with a third attempt in the pipeline www.ridetheloop.org.uk) and epic sportive rider, who also fundraises for the William Wates Memorial Trust, Michael is now 8-9 stone lighter and says people, including his own Doctor, don’t recognise him as the same man.

As an avid cycling fan he’s also passionate about opportunity and the impact cycling can have. In the North-East where his business his based, Leathers are known for being the accountants that “do cycling”. It’s a fascinating narrative and provides unique conversations in a world of numbers and balancing books; and it becomes more fascinating when three of the team as part of a six person group have bought (Christmas 2017) their first road bikes to train for a London-Paris bike ride on behalf of North East based St Oswalds Hospice (www.stoswaldsuk.org).

After inviting Dame Sarah Storey to speak at a fundraising dinner, Michael followed the team’s exploits and came to ride with the team during their Curlew Cup recce last June.

“My team and I love cycling, I’ve tried to convert them all one by one, with a few joining me for Tour de Force stages,” Michael explained, “So when I explained about the team, and they’d all met Sarah at the dinner, it was an easy sell for me to say I’d like us to back this team for 2018.”

“Cycling is such a powerful tool, I’m a testament to that and I think our ethos and that of Storey Racing are very similar, I like their hashtag #BestVersionOfYou.”

For the team, Michael’s support is more than just financial and promoting an accountancy firm, it’s the shared passion and drive that stands out- but it is not just Michael who shares this passion; Leathers as an organisation are committed to the benefits of the whole relationship and are keen to share this with their clients and contacts.

Barry James, Tax Manager at Leathers who has been bitten by the cycling bug (he’s off to the Pyrenees again this year with Michael in his third Le Loop challenge), echoes Michael’s sentiments, “We’re all so excited to be supporting Storey Racing in 2018. Their values epitomise all that is good about cycling; hopefully we can help Sarah, Barney and the girls achieve success in 2018, encourage even more people to get on their bikes, and raise money for the Leathers charitable causes in the process.”

“We have a great rapport with Michael and are so enthused by his love of cycling. What he has achieved by taking up cycling is truly remarkable and we hope others will be inspired as much by his example as they are by the results and work ethic of the team.” Sports Director Barney Storey commented.

Michael at the National Cyclo-cross Championships, with Anna Kay (L), Beth Crumpton (C) and Ffion James (R), receiving his signed National Trophy jersey for the office wall.

“He was a very welcome supporter at the National Cyclocross Champs last weekend and will be a familiar face to the riders as the year progresses. We are delighted to welcome him and his team to our team. I’m sure with our shared work ethos and passion for cycling, we’ll make a great and growing partnership.” As Michael commented “It was great to be at Nationals but one of the amazing conversations was that three of the future stars in the cycling world were as excited to hear about two of the girls from the office buying new bikes and training for London-Paris, there really is a shared dynamic”.

Leathers the accountants are based in Newcastle but don’t just act for clients locally with a following in the south of England and across France, Germany, Czech Republic to the USA. Their vision is to be acknowledged as a trusted team of advisors who are respected in the North-East and beyond, with the promise of being “people who look after people, in business and in life.”

More information about Leathers can be found on their website www.leatherstheaccountants.com and you can follow Michael on twitter @MadMike123 and Leathers @leathersllp.